It's a rainy day up here way Down East, and the woods and roadsides are lush and green with gorgeous fiddleheads in various states of unfurling.
This time of year we find the tightly curled fronds in the produce section of the grocery store. Right now, we have a batch in the fridge, waiting to be cooked and served with this evening's dinner. Yum!
Here's the recipe I'll follow:
For a party of 6. Preparation time about 30 minutes
6 bunches, about 8 fronds each, of ostrich fern fiddleheads, well washed and tied with string
For the Hollandaise sauce:
1/2 cup butter
1-1/2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar or fresh squeezed lemon juice
3 egg yolks
a pinch of cayenne pepper
In a tall pot, bring 1/2 cup water to a boil. Stand the bunches of ferns upright in the water, cover tightly, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 20 minutes, or until tender.
While the ferns cook, make the sauce. Melt the butter over very low heat and keep warm. Heat the vinegar until barely warm. Place the egg yolks in the top of a double boiler over, not in, simmering water and beat with a wire whisk until the yolks thicken.
Add, 1 at a time, 4 tablespoons of hot water, beating after each addition until the yolks begin to thicken again. Beat in the vinegar. Remove from the boiler and continue constantly to beat the sauce while drizzling in the melted butter and adding the salt and cayenne.
As soon as the sauce is thickened, pour it over the fiddleheads and serve immediately. Savor the flavor!
This treasury, Number 123 of the 365 I've challenged myself to curate in 2012, celebrates the perennially beautiful fern!
*You'll find this recipe and many more in our own publication, The Musical Theatre Cookbook, which we'll be reprinting soon!
©2012 Rough Magic Creations.